Finally after a break of two years we are finally back at the festival we fell in love with in 2004!
We went five years in succession before heading off for a year on our travels in 2009. 2010 we were working in the West Highlands of Scotland but this year we were determined to go.
We were going on the bike because camping was free so the weekend before we had a practice run on packing all our things into the three panniers. All seemed ok and the weather seemed to be looking good for the weekend….unlike last year which apparently was a complete wash out.
After breakfast we loaded the panniers onto the bike, got suited up and headed off with the sun shining.
As the bike was fully loaded and HEAVY I decided to go along the motorway as it was easier and more direct. We only had one small shower on the way and when we finally arrived in Cropredy most of the fields were already full. We were heading for field 3 as it was nearest for everything we needed and was also the tent field. Last time were there we saw a few motorbikes with small tents next to them.
What we did not know was that there was a no vehicle policy in field 3 at all as it was only for tents. We were told we could drop the tent off and find somewhere else to park which was of no use to us so we went out again and headed for field 4. This time we were told by the security guard that this field was already full…….not the start we were hoping for.
I said to the security guard surely we could fit in somewhere as we were only on a bike with a small tent. He called into the control and they allowed us in thankfully.
This is where we ended up…………………….
Having set up we headed off into the village to explore the old haunts and ended up at The Brasenose public house. Every year they put on live music when the festival’s on and there were Morris Dancers too. The queue for a pint was very, very long but that was expected and we struck up a conversation with the chap behind who just happened to own a camper van…
The music over the weekend was all fantastic but our favourites were Home Service, with John Tams on main vocal (beautiful voice, and first discovered him when he sang on the Sharpe TV series with Sean Bean) and a brass section. His voice is haunting at times, and powerful at others so he has you hanging on his every word.
Another impressive band were the Blockheads, from Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Dean remembers them from his youth so he was singing away to many of the songs. The only disappointment were UB40 who I (Angela) have loved since I was a child. Their talent was not in question but the mood among the crowd seemed to change and Dean made us move away from the front of the stage as he noticed groups of young men getting antsy with each other.
Apart from the wonderful headline act of Fairport Convention, the group that stole the show were Hayseed Dixie. For entertainment value alone they were priceless, but their whole set was full of energy, humour and above all talent! They class their genre of music as Rockgrass, a blend of Bluegrass and Rock performing covers of such classics as The Ace of Spades and Bohemian Rhapsody.
We had a brilliant time and it was great to come back to the Festival and enjoy it as much as we hoped to. This time we had no chairs so we sat on a poncho, drank our beer and chilled out listening to the music. Every now and again we got up, had a wander round and found ourselves another vantage point.
While we were sat down we watched how the other festival goers ‘marked out’ their little patch of field. Some were just as relaxed as us, but others had laid out massive groundsheets with chairs, blankets and half moon tents. We used to be like that but found this year we just took up the space our bodies needed and enjoyed it so much more – each to their own we suppose…
The only down side was both of us developed a cold, with a nasty cough so sleeping ‘rough’ wasn’t ideal, and we bought the wrong fuel with us for our new stove! Needless to say we could find nowhere that sold methylated spirits so we ate out all weekend. By the time we got home Sunday we were desperate for some salad, vegetables and a proper cup of coffee!
Dean was a star when we got back as I was dead on my feet, feeling really rough I could hardly walk or keep my eyes open. I ended up sleeping over 13 hours, only waking to eat what he had cooked –I am so lucky to have married such a wonderful man.
Below is a collection of pictures we took over the weekend – enjoy!